news of the day

Just three quickies before I re-enter the world of matzo toffee:

Oh wait, let’s make it two, and one I will post on the pro blog. OK. Good idea.

1) Can you tell I was feeling springy and good (albeit a bit blurry) today? Finally, it happened: a fantastic day!

I knew it would come along.

Met with Jasmine to discuss glorious custom lighting ideas for the shop; shipped out some bunnies and whatnot; bought, loaded, and unloaded a ton of flooring for the apartments in the building (OK, I could have lived without those hours, but whatever); had lunch with friends old and new; petted a puppy; cut some daffodils to bring inside; and sat in the sunshine reading Martha Stewart Living for half an hour, inhaling the springy air and feeling just as mentally stable as you please.


2) Oh, and this. This happened too:

HOOOOOO BOYYYYYYYYY THE INTERNET HAD FUN WITH THIS TODAY! Seemingly everyone on facebook posted it, and then the NYT jumped in, too!

Damn. Every time I think I think I don’t care about inside-baseball vegan-insider useless scandals, another one comes along and I go nuts reading about it and weighing in. I just took an hour out of a fast-paced day to jump into the fray, then I called my mom and we had fun rehashing it too—THE OUTRAGE!!! OH! I AM SO OUTRAGED!

Yeah, I am. But I also find THE OUTRAGE a little much.

My sweet pal Marla, who writes for them as a freelancer (and, full disclosure, once or twice has quoted me in an article in the mag. I feel like somewhere long ago she or someone else mentioned my chocos too…maybe not, I sincerely can’t remember—oh, and, more full disclosure: no less than three times in the past two years have their editors emailed me asking for free samples, which I always sent even though I suspected they don’t really get my chocolate, and obviously they didn’t, since I never received so much as a thank-you note.

Wait, now it seems like I don’t like them because they didn’t write about the chocolates. Ah, I don’t care how it seems. My chocolate isn’t aimed at their audience.), pointed out, quite justifiably, that the INSANE PILING-ON that is happening (I am very guilty of this, as I wrote a hilariously mean status about the whole thing) is not productive and takes time away from the vital work of vegans hating on non-vegans.

Or, vegans hating on other vegans because of our shoe choices (I just blocked a dude on FB because he was going around telling everyone I wasn’t vegan because of my 3 pairs of used leather shoes. Funnest quote: “You may THINK you’ve been vegan for 17 years, but…”).

Or, wait, was there something about animals we’re supposed to be focusing on, or something?

And wait, what? Lefties are tearing each other apart instead of focusing on true progressive change?

I’m shocked!

ANYWAY, here’s my problem: I subscribe to meaty food mags and I read meaty food blogs, so I’m obviously good at blocking out dead animals when getting my foodie news fix. (Also, two people bought me Grant Achatz’s book for my birthday, so there we go. The cat’s out of the bag that I like to read about non-vegan chefs).

But, if I paid money for a vegan magazine and photos of dead animals were in it, I would mos def find it to be a disgusting betrayal.

But! I’d never pay money for VegNews because the mag has never been my cup of tea. Jacob forced me to try to win one of their awards last year, but other than that I’ve been happy not to engage with the mainstream v-world (which they epitomize/define/shape/helped create), as, as I’ve talked about in this space often, vegans are not my target market.

(I’m a guerilla undercover pleasure provocateur, getting off on turning flesh-eaters into weak-kneed sycophants at the altar of my ethical edibles, my theobroma cacao, my politics I will not disavow in order to make classy-ass chow chow!


BUT! (Moving on from my amazing rapping skills which I bet you never even suspected, did you??

What’s that? You want another one? OK, here we go: My name is Lagusta! It rhymes with balabusta [NOT REALLY SO MUCH ACTUALLY]–that’s Yiddish yo! It means a pushy lady! [ok maybe this one needs some work, as it really only contains one rhyme which does not, in fact, rhyme at all. It would be better if I made a video of me rapping it at ya, but lord knows that is not going to happen.)


What offends me much, much, much more is the fact that their PHOTOS WERE NOT OF THEIR ACTUAL RECIPES! No reputable food mag would ever dare such a crap trick. I used to buy Gourmet ONLY for their photography (oh GOD, remember those annual summer produce issues? I don’t like the term “food porn,” but I could seriously rub one out to those dripping tomatoes and split watermelons, slick with…

phew. oh god. Watermelons. Is it getting hot in here? And also, did I just sort of come out to you [and myself]? Dripping/split/slick?)

One of the most disappointing events for a new cook is spending a night making a recipe that doesn’t turn out like the photo. Imagine if you made a VegNews recipe that didn’t look like the photo not only because the photo was actually of animal flesh, but also because it was of something else entirely? That does get my rage righteously roiling. To have so little respect for your own recipes truly disgusts me. Imagine if I sold chocolates with stock photos! (all those stock choco vulva photos…)

I’m sure the VegNews publishers are fine, ethical people who sincerely want to cheerlead veganism, and they have done a fine job of that through the years. But I have never supported them, and never will, because their brand of veganism—heavy on packaged crap and endless shit to buy, skinny white celebrities and mainstream animal welfare orgs (I did truly find Marla’s articles better than others, and I truly don’t think that’s just my friend bias talking. [I do, however, think my friends are generally better people than most.])—is not how I practice my veganism. Live and let live, I suppose.


Anyway, they’re a shit-ton better than Vegetarian Times, we can all agree on that!

PS: Update: My mom and I rehashed VegNewsGate tonight, and decided that the real problem is that VegNews was the Family Circle of the veganverse (or the O Magazine, pick your poison, either works), and what we really want is a New Yorker. Is it too much to ask for a smart vegan mag?

*I may or may not have had some caffeine today. Not as much as when I wrote that cupcake post or whatever the hell this is, but, if pressed, I wouldn’t exactly be able to deny that a small soy chai had not entered my possession somewhere between the unloading of thousands of pounds of flooring and the sitting in the sun-ing.

10 Responses to “news of the day”

  1. adriennefriend


    nate: “What’s up?”

    “Lagusta just made a blog post.”
    “What’s she talkin’ bout?”

    “Everything, as usual.”

    (shared laughter)

    seriously, great post. they’re always such mixed bags, but I’m especially glad you weighed in on the vegnews controversy. I share your observation about the heartbreakingness for new chefs of not measuring up to a ridiculous picture. I think it’s lame and lazy and disappointed that they couldn’t even offer a real (instead of defensive/face-saving) apology. when you fuck up big time, it’s always a good idea to be humble and curious.

    controversy aside, I recently gave vegnews a try for the first time. (I’ve been working out more, and despite having subscribed to the New Yorker – yay! – for the past five years, I’ve never really gotten the hang of reading it on the elliptical. Unless it’s a food story/chef profile/something similarly arresting. [The New York Review of Books is even worse.] So I’ve been looking for fluffy stuff… er, sorta. Bust, Bitch, and now… vegnews?) but um… I didn’t really read or enjoy it. different content, obviously, but it still kind of reminded me of the women’s magazines at the gym I secretly drop into the recycling. (you didn’t read that!) you know?

    long live lagusta + a couple milligrams of caffeine!

  2. Liz

    I deliberately abstained from the VN clusterf*ck all day because I think it only contributes to the utter insufferability of vegans as perceived by omnivores, but inside, I do think it’s totally bogus. I mean, how expensive is it to set up a test kitchen and hire a real photographer? As someone pointed out, there are plenty of vegan photographers who would not hesitate to do it for free.

    I grew up in a Gourmet and Cook’s Illustrated household and am in total agreement with you that misrepresenting the recipes is just as great an injustice as photoshopping the bones out.

    In conclusion: I hope everyone who has contributed to the discussion is first and foremost aware that picking fights over stock photo images in a lifestyle magazine is the least effective way to help animals. But I agree that it sucks.

  3. Randal Putnam

    Your work has the good funk all through it. I’d pay to read your blog long before I’d pay to read the NYT. P.S. Caffeine suits you.

  4. lagusta

    you peeps probably already saw this, but they did issue a new apology that was better:

    The mag will forever get a “meh” from me, and even if it didn’t I don’t think I could ever read a magazine run by vegans who would do this sort of idiotic crap in the first place, but who cares? I don’t think any of us are its target market.


  5. ruby

    Yeah, no. I read the apology, but Joseph Connelly of VegNews was just on NPR talking about the kerfuffle & he made me despise him. He sounded so smug! His solution is to “create a vegan stock photo image database” – instead of actually making the fucking recipes they publish & taking pictures of them. He said “food styling” is so expensive – and the host even brought up vegan bloggers taking pretty pictures of food they make in their kitchens. He brushed that aside. Boo, I’ve never subscribed & now I never will. I’ll stick to the beautiful websites of real vegans, making real food. I’m not mad, just disappointed in some people’s backwards thinking.

  6. Marla

    Hi, Lagusta –

    I know that we’re both onto other topics now but I just saw this. I do want to clarify that my position has never been that we shouldn’t criticize and hold one another to higher standards. You know that I am the first to go after PETA and that whole “can’t we all just paste on a smile for the sake of the animals?!” mentality is nonsense to me. I just thought that much of the slash-and-burn, with-me-or-against-me sloganeering around the issue from both sides was pretty much a waste of time considering the big picture. I am glad that you don’t think I suck as bad as the Family Circle-y magazine that occasionally publishes my work. Thank you!

    I am a little tired of the “elitist vs. populist, alternative vs. mainstream, cultured vs. idiotic” false dichotomies many people used in their arguments. I just want to be a complex, three-dimensional person, not defined by such narrow and often self-serving parameters, and I’m sure you feel the same way. When I graduated college as a painting major I decided I never wanted to be around shallow narrow-mindedness like that again and I think that among all the emotions with the VegNews scandal, dredging up all that old ugliness was also painful. But whatever. Onward and upward. Here’s to three-dimensionality and passionate pursuits!



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